Next Tuesday I shall be off to Scotland for my first trip of the year. I’m going with Alan Sloman and Andy Walker for a little jaunt around the Monadhliath. Originally we were going to the Cairngorms, but there’s been a lot of snow, so it was difficult to work out a route that didn’t require some serious mountaineering. This is the route that Alan gave me, but it could be subject to change, depending on circumstances.
It’s basically a big loop from Newtonmore to Aviemore of approximately 30 miles over three days, so we’ll be doing about ten miles a day. Enough to be serious, but not excessively arduous. For all of us, this is part of our TGO Challenge preparation, both for fitness and to try out some new gear. Today, I assembled most of my gear for packing next week.
I’ve decided on a new approach to assembling gear. Essentially, I’m using two plastic crates, one for clothes and one for gear. This makes it really easy to tick items off a list and have them to hand for packing. It was much quicker than my previous method of spreading everything over the floor! Because I’ve not crushed down the gear (especially the down jacket), it’s looks a lot more than it actually is.
The weather forecast (at the moment) is for temperatures between 0-10c and reasonably dry. Of course, that can change but it seems sensible to pack for colder conditions.
To that end, I’m taking my PHD Yukon down jacket, which is a lot warmer than the Minimus and about 150g heavier. Mine is a special edition with a waterproof shell. I’m taking some warmer Polartech leggings, which are about 100g heavier than my usual lightweight ones. My jacket will be the Paramo Vasco, but I’m also taking a hardshell (OMM Cypher smock).
On my feet, I will be using Ecco Biom Hike boots. There’s been a bit of discussion about whether to take microspikes. I’m going to take some Yaktrax as they are a lot lighter (165g vs. c.500g) and they grip well on icy paths. We are not doing anything very serious, so they should be more than capable without weighing too much.
I’m going to test the MLD Trailstar (at last). It will be interesting how the Trailstar and OookStar combo fare. I’m taking six MSR blizzard stakes, plus some Eastons and titanium pins to cover all eventualities, hence a hefty 308g for pegs.
I’ve decided to take an Exped Downmat UL rather than the Nemo Zor as it could be quite cold at night. I think the weight penalty of c.340g extra is worth it as insurance. My sleeping bag will be my trusty Alpkit Pipedream 400. I did think about the Rab Neutrino 200 SL, but I’m not certain of its warmth. I could go heavier and take my Pipedream 600, but if I’m cold I can always put on the Yukon jacket.
I’m taking one extra set of gloves and an additional hat as backup. Overall, I reckon the warmer gear is about 1kg extra. I’ve sacrificed my UL umbrella to bring the extra weight penalty down to about 800g. My overall base weight is 9.6kg. I’ve not weighed stuffsacks, so that will boost it a tad.
Food shopping has yet to be done, but I’d imagine that food and sundries will be around 3kg, making an all up weight of around 13kg at a guess. That’s not SUL, but reasonable for winter bimble. If you’re very lucky, I might publish a full gear list before I go 🙂